Team McCallum

R&D for Lifetime of Life

Make mine a treble?

Three preliminary reports on alcohol are being presented at a meeting of the American Heart Association (AHA), currently taking place in Chicago.

An Italian group of researchers followed over 1,00 male patients who had undergone a coronary bypass graft for a period of three and a half years. They found that light to moderate drinkers of alcohol had a lower risk of further procedures, heart attacks and stroke, when compared to non-drinkers and heavy drinkers.

‘Light to moderate’ was considered to be 5 to 30g of alcohol daily, equivalent to 1 to 3 drinks. Heavy was 60g daily – around 6 drinks.

Those in the light to moderate group had a risk 25% lower than non-drinkers, whilst those in the heavy category were at double the risk of non-drinkers.

A second team found that regular, moderate drinking in women in middle age increased the chance of surviving to see the age of 70. This time the group tracked was 14,000 women who lived to age 70 in the Nurses’ Health Study. It was found that moderate regular drinking, considered to be 2-4 drinks at a time, improved the chance of surviving by around 20%, depending on the consumption pattern.

A key was regular. Binge drinking and sporadic drinking did not help. Those drinking daily improved their chances by 22%, while those drinking 3 to 6 times per week produced the best increase, at 28%.

The third study focussed on stroke in women, rather than survivability. It also looked at the Nurses’ Health Study, this time tracking 84,000 women over 20 years. Light drinking cut the risk of stroke as compared to not drinking and moderate alcohol.

In this case, around one drink per day cut the risk of stroke by 20%, as compared to not drinking. For women on hormone replacement therapy, drinking 2 or more drinks per day elevated their risk above those who did not drink.

All of these findings have yet to be peer-reviewed, although a number of journals are publishing simultaneously with the AHA meeting to report on significant studies.

The AHA does not recommend people start consuming alcohol to prevent heart disease because too much alcohol can raise blood pressure and have other negative effects. Further, the AHA recommends women limit themselves to a drink a day and men to two drinks per day.

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November 15, 2010 - Posted by | Aging, AHA - American Heart Association, Alcohol, CVD - cardiovascular disease, Health, High blood pressure, Success

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